New PhD student

Mathias Rask is new PhD student at the Department

Mathias Rask
Mathias Rask. Foto: privat

Hi everyone, my name is Mathias Rask and I am a new PhD student at The Department of Political Science at Aarhus University. Unfortunately, I have not been able to meet any of you physically yet, I am pleased to join your department and for having received a warm welcome online. I am part of the “Political Behavior and Institution”-section. 

My research interests center around topics within political behavior, political representation and political methodology. In particular, I am interested in how we can apply machine – and deep learning methods on untraditional data sources such as text, audio and images to develop empirical measures that allow us to ask new research questions or to revisit “old” and classical ideas with a new measure at hand. 

In my PhD-project, I intend to do so by revisiting a classical topic in political science: Descriptive representation. The literature on the political representation of social groups has mostly defined representation through how legislators vote on policies. But there is more to the political representation of social groups than a legislator’s voting style. Besides voting, legislators also present themselves and explain their policy positions to their constituents through their political communication. This happens both within and outside the parliament, and through multiple types of communication: Verbal, non-verbal, and visual. To measure this broader notion of representation, I apply machine- and deep-learning methods on both text, audio and image data to develop empirical measures of, for instance, a legislator’s emotional intensity when speaking about a social group (using audio from speeches).